Battle of the Bottle: Mass. Senator Seeks to Ban Bottled Water

Will a dispute over the Massachusetts bottle bill cause the state to ban bottled water?

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With hot summer days ahead, it’s hard to imagine not being able to wander into any convenience store to buy a bottle of water. But that situation might become a reality in Massachusetts if a new state amendment goes through.

State Senator Cynthia Creem wants to add bottled water to the state’s bottle redemption law, a 30-year-old piece of legislation that allows residents to redeem used bottles and cans for a 5-cent refund. As of now, the legislation only provides incentives for citizens to recycle bottles of beer, malt beverages, carbonated sodas and mineral water, exempting one-third of all bottles sold in the state. But Creem is hoping to change that.

(PHOTOS: Belu: Environment-Friendly Bottled Water)

Earlier this week, Senator Creem proposed an amendment that would ban the sale of bottled water after July 2013 if they aren’t added to the so-called bottle bill, insisting that if bottled water had existed 30 years ago, it would have been included in the original legislation.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick supports the proposed changes, but other legislators claim that the proposal resembles a tax that would get passed down to consumers. Retailers and food stores agree. So the long-debated change remains stuck in committee.

While a proposed ban on bottled water seems severe, Senator Creem points out that 80% of bottles that are covered are recycled, and extending the legislation would be beneficial to the environment.

“If you look along the Charles River, you’ll see bottles strewn around,” Creem told the Boston Herald. “It should have been included by now.”

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